Love Songs by Ted Gioia
The Hidden History

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Mr Gioia fares less well on modern territory. He is dismissive of punk and hostile toward hip-hop. Like many critics today, he is gripped by a regrettable need to say something about the internet. Such a compulsion rarely produces observations of value, and Mr Gioia’s are no exception.
-The Economist

Synopsis

The love song is timeless. From its beginnings, it has been shaped by bohemians and renegades, slaves and oppressed minorities, prostitutes, immigrants and other excluded groups. But what do we really know about the origins of these intimate expressions of the heart? And how have our changing perceptions about topics such as sexuality and gender roles changed our attitudes towards these songs?

In Love Songs: The Hidden History, Ted Gioia uncovers the unexplored story of the love song for the first time. Drawing on two decades of research, Gioia presents the full range of love songs, from the fertility rites of ancient cultures to the sexualized YouTube videos of the present day. The book traces the battles over each new insurgency in the music of love--whether spurred by wandering scholars of medieval days or by four lads from Liverpool in more recent times. In these pages, Gioia reveals that the tenderest music has, in different eras, driven many of the most heated cultural conflicts, and how the humble love song has played a key role in expanding the sphere of individualism and personal autonomy in societies around the world.

Gioia forefronts the conflicts, controversies, and the battles over censorship and suppression spurred by such music, revealing the outsiders and marginalized groups that have played a decisive role in shaping our songs of romance and courtship, and the ways their innovations have led to reprisals and strife. And he describes the surprising paths by which the love song has triumphed over these obstacles, and emerged as the dominant form of musical expression in modern society.
 

About Ted Gioia

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An authority on jazz and blues, Ted Gioia is the founder and editor of jazz.com. He has recorded several CDs as a pianist and composer and is the author of five highly regarded books on jazz and roots music. He lives in Plano, Texas.
 
Published January 14, 2015 by Oxford University Press. 331 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Love Songs
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

The Economist

Below average
on Feb 14 2015

Mr Gioia fares less well on modern territory. He is dismissive of punk and hostile toward hip-hop. Like many critics today, he is gripped by a regrettable need to say something about the internet. Such a compulsion rarely produces observations of value, and Mr Gioia’s are no exception.

Read Full Review of Love Songs: The Hidden History | See more reviews from The Economist

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by PD Smith on Jun 21 2018

In this wide-ranging and fascinating study, music historian Ted Gioia examines the surprisingly ancient and diverse origins of the love song and its enduring power over us.

Read Full Review of Love Songs: The Hidden History | See more reviews from Guardian

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80%

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